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Briones 1Ben BrionesTwo Catholic Identities Through Two Educational PathsIt is almost impossible to say that religion does not affect one’s life, especially considering that 79.2% of people in the U.S. adhere to some type of religion according to a 2016 article by Frank Newport. According to the same article, more than half of these people say that religion is “important” in their lives. Through observations of Fran, a senior at UC Berkeley whowent to to an all-girl Catholic school for 10 years, and myself, a junior at UC Berkeley who is also Catholic but didn’t go to Catholic School, I came to understand the dissimilarities in our understandings of Catholicism. My interviews with Fran made it clear that the process by which we internalized, expressed, and the developed our Catholic identities were different. These interviews shed a light as to exactly how Catholic schooling is responsible for how we came to differ so much in our identities, especially considering how we both come from religious Filipinohouseholds. Although my original thinking was that she and I would not differ much in our identities being that I see her as just as religious as myself, I came to discover that our understandings of what it means to be a Catholic were very different due to our education in three main ways: the ways our identities were enforced, my understanding of what makes a Catholic is more tangible than what Fran believes, and that struggles with our identities came at different times in our lives and for different reasons. From a very early age, Fran said that she could remember doing things like “putting food out on the day of the dead holiday” and also her parents “being adamant in going to Church every Sunday”. Fran grew up in a religious Filipino household, so it was “kind of hard escape thewhole Catholic thing” as she noted. When she entered Catholic school in elementary school, however, she said that she noticed her parents slowly stopped trying to push her and her siblings
Briones 2to partake in these types of things as “they probably thought that Catholic school was doing this for them”. From then on, most of what Fran came to learn about her religious identity was from what she learned in school. Religion class was included in her school’s curriculum from elementary to high school. She would be required to read the Bible, analyze the text, and learn how to apply it in her life. Further on, she was also required to “pray in the morning, before every meal, and before school ended”. The religious rituals she performed in school were fully apart of her everyday life all the way to high school. Her parents only played a role in introducing the religion to her and her siblings, but never really did anything to enforce it when she was enrolled into Catholic school. What she came to know as what was right and wrong for aCatholic person came from her education.